Beware the dreaded Kitchen Dunny!
Monday, January 20, 2014
"This extremely well-located, ground floor, Art Deco, studio apartment boasts both character and charm," claims the page dedicated to it on realestate.com.au. "This," it concludes at the end of its spiel, "is city living at its best." I'm calling b*llsh*t! Closer inspection to the photo above demonstrates what it actually boasts: a dreaded kitchen dunny!
It wasn't a problem in the 'olden days' when the euphemistically described 'smallest room in the house' was outside the house - hence that other euphemism, 'the outhouse'. It would be strategically placed - when space allowed - down the bottom of the garden, and the choko vine, ubiquitous to Aussie backyards, ensured putrid aromas (the sillage of sewage) were contained.
When hygiene and technology enabled outhouses to be moved in-house, its understandable why many ended up adjacent to the kitchen: that's where the plumbing was. I'm not sure if indoor choko vines were ever in vogue, but they weren't necessary. As long as there were walls and doors separating the can from the room where foodstuffs were prepared, and a window in the smallest room of the house to allow circulation of air, it was all rather bearable.
So what's with the kitchen dunny? Shouldn't there be a solid, non-see-through door (along with a wall) blocking the view of the lav?
It's barely two months since the prosecution of a landlord in Cambridge for turning a backyard shed into a granny flat. Which involved the loo becomingâ¦ yes, you guessed it... a kitchen dunny.
Lifted from MailOnline
It's not like I'm some sort of expert - even though I have written the odd article regarding remarkable restrooms during my time in trades publications. But I was, for a time, the victim of the dreaded kitchen dunny.
About a year ago, when the career trajectory dipped back into retail and I discovered that absolutely nobody wants a table, I also discovered the stinginess of shop owners could stretch to amenities. Rather than creating two rooms or a room within a room, the 'office' out back - separated from the shop floor by a curtained doorway - was more than an office. It was the classic kitchen dunny. Sink in one corner opposite the door, bar fridge diagonally opposite, dunny in the other corner. It was close enough to the fridge to leave no doubt that the stains running down the side were not from the herbal teas brewed atop the fridge, where the kettle was kept.
There was a strict 'no solids' rule for the kitchen dunny. There was no door separating it from the rest of the store, let alone the other elements of the room that constituted 'office' or 'kitchen' accoutrements and differentiated it from being a dunny. Which is good. As the saying goes, one should never eat where one sh*ts.
Although, if I had to, I could perhaps have pretended I was sucking nipples.
You know, like the dude who licks ashtrays since that's what 'kissing a smoker' was supposedly like - during a time in the late-'70s/early-'80s when that was the clever anti-smoking campaign.
The breastfeeding of babies within the toilet cubicle, because nursing mothers often have no other option, has been compared to eating a meal on the loo.
However, I never ate in the kitchen dunny, because that was also forbidden. Couldn't have customers smelling food or its by-product, as they browsed furniture.
Leaving the shop for meal breaks suited me fine, anyway. I had to go for a wander at lunch: I had to find a usable dunny!
There was a KFC across the road - but I resisted setting foot inside the whole time I was employed across the road from it.
The local Coles didn't seem to have a public loo.
There was a Thai restaurant that kept itself clean, but how many times a week could you have an indulgent Thai meal for lunch?
The cafÃ© on the next blook was more of a 'most days' haunt.
Of course, the owner of the service station across the road from it didn't mind how often I borrowed the key. But you know how servo dunnies are: definitely not worth the cost of the cherry ripe or can of soft drink I'd buy out of politeness every time.
There was a rather clean office building next door. And it had amenities. Typically, the guys who worked there rarely flushed, and only occasionally lifted the seat, but it was better than all the other options. I'd even take my own lavatory paper. I had to: the non-flushing, non-seat-lifting pigs rarely replaced lavatory paper.
I discovered it because one of the tenants in the building was a magician of a physiotherapist who did amazing back work. He made all the horrible pain disappear. And there tends to be a lot of back pain when working in a furniture shop.
However, being a regular client of the physiotherapist wasn't enough: an accountant who also had offices realised I visited most days and would lie in wait behind his door, to jump out and tell me off.
"This isn't a public toilet you know!" he'd sternly admonish me.
"Look mate," I'd explain, "I'm his patientâ¦" - pointing at the physiotherapist's office - "â¦ and I'm doing you a favour - I'm the only person using the gents who knows how to lift the seat and flush; I'm keeping the place clean for you pigsâ¦"
The thing that had me stumped, the whole time I worked there, was how did my boss get through the day?
I think I can best express the differences between us by drawing from the theme music to the nostalgic sitcom Happy Days. Remember it had two themes? Earlier seasons opened with 'Rock Around the Clock' by Bill Haley and His Comets; it was later replaced by a purpose-written theme song, an earlier version of which had been closing the show from the beginning.
When it came to crappy days at this place, my boss's disposition could best be described by a variation of the latter theme:
Sunday, Monday: he don't poo!
Tuesday, Wednesday: he don't poo!
Thursday, Friday: he don't poo!Saturday, what a day â
Waiting all week to poo!
My case, however, was clearly defined by earlier theme:
One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock: poo!
Five, six, seven o'clock, eight o'clock: poo!
Nine, ten, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock: poo!
I'm gonna poo around the clock each dayâ¦
I've no idea how he got through the day without taking a dump. Maybe I was 'banned' from eating in the store so that, while I was out, he could shut the shop and duck out the back to lay a cable of his own. I don't know.
Point is, it's the 21st century; Australia is a civilised, industrialised, first-world country. There's no reason, let alone excuse, for a kitchen dunny.